I mean I seriously thought about being nice, and I rejected it. It’s a lousy gig, one to be avoided unless you are a masochist or something like that. Being nice means not being authentic, unless you decide that it’s worth all that work. Cuz being nice is hard work. Not for the faint hearted. Not for the lazy.
I know a lot of nice people. Past and present. They are always smiling. It’s part of the persona. At least while in public.
It’s always saying the right thing, and worse yet, it’s actually believing it. It’s liking to be liked, and being liked by so many people that when you die, well, there really won’t be a dry eye in the house. Your funeral will be well attended.
Why is it so sad when a funeral is not well attended? It shouldn’t be. I figure it’s as good of evidence as one gets that one has lived a life of profligate self-interest. I figure Donald Trump’s funeral will be well-attended. But it’s not because he ain’t all about self-interest. It will be because people want to be seen there, nothing else. There won’t be many wet eyes at that one.
Nice means submerging one’s true feelings because it’s not polite to be cruel or dismissive of the normal but boring detris of other people’s lives. First on the scene with a box of cookies. First to offer babysitting services. First to offer to plan a wedding shower. Yech, I gots way better stuff to do than that.
But it’s not all disrespect and narcissism. I mean being un-nice is not being deliberately mean or something. It has nothing to do with being good or bad. You can be good and un-nice. Or you can be good in spite of being un-nice.
Good is striving at all times (well most of the time maybe) to do the right thing, insofar as it leads to correct factual determinations and ultimately the use of such criterion in making decisions that matter. Or something like that.
It means caring about shit deeply. And it means speaking truth to anyone who will listen and shouting at those that won’t because you are damned sure that you probably know more than most about whatever you choose to pontificate upon.
It’s self-centered but benign. Or maybe not so benign, but that’s a word that doesn’t get used nearly often enough. I try to encourage the use of more words.
Being nice requires a lot of time. And to a lazy person, that means it starts with so many negatives that it surely can’t be resurrected except for the most important of situations. It requires a whole lot of time and effort. Too much.
You know the nice people. They are uniformly nice. And secretly you admire them sorta, but not really because you figure they are more patsy than role model. They are sorta soft people, who settled on the safe “being nice” as their claim on the universe.
Wasn’t she just nice? The nicest person I ever knew. She was so nice. Everyone liked her.
Now that is the kiss of death ain’t it? What wants to be liked by everybody? What sort of bland is required to reach that pinnacle of mediocrity?
Seriously, nice is the easy way out in life. It’s bending to everyone’s whim because it’s far easier than sorting through all the demons that whisper in the background for you to come out and have some real fun.
Being the teacher I shall always remember as my favorite is not a claim to fame. Better to make someone sit up in shocked attention, and make it their life long goal to prove you wrong. That’s an impact. That’s worthy for the reference books, or at least an entry in Bartlett’s.
I don’t mean to make light. But I do.
For I am defending me.
Because, not being nice, no one else will.
Well, maybe not nobody. But not a lot of some bodies.
I’m a good person. I don’t pull the wings off flies. I don’t taunt little children, not pinch dogs to make them squeal. I think of global things that matter to lives in deep corners of the world and I tell people to think about them too.
I don’t steal or lie or commit adultery. I don’t commit treason, nor do I harbor hateful beliefs about fellow humans without strong evidence. If I do have the evidence, I’m surely not too polite to tell you. I figure you should know. It’s important to know who’s who.
Good is different from nice. Way different. And if you don’t know the difference, well, I ain’t got the time to explain it. And you might just be too stupid to get it anyhow. I have few illusions.
Figments of facts, floating by. Snatch one or two and make a statement. Let them all float by and you are living in suburbia serving the Merikan dream and largely brain-dead.
Who speaks of all this stuff?
It’s so much easier to play in your own puddle but so much more fun to comment on the dirty water in your neighbor’s.
I don’t smile at clerks in stores all the time. Nice people do that. How can nice people be defined properly if I don’t help to anchor the alternative? So I don’t smile. And if they say one of those stupid things, like “did you find everything?” I’m likely to respond with a “now that is some sort of stupid question isn’t it? Either I gave up looking for “everything” or I did find everything, or I’m too lazy to care.
I point out stupid well. It’s a gift.
It’s lonely here in the gut section of humanity. Being the speaker of the obvious truth rather than pointing out how lovely your crappy dress looks with those shoes when they look hideous. Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not nice enough to not bother telling you that that crappy dress looks hideous with those shoes, because why is it my job to care how you look? I enjoy a joke too ya know.
Mostly not being nice allows me to enjoy all the stuff I want to, without bothering to note the inconsistency in my commonly held positions on just about anything. Oh I bother now and then, and strike the old cognitive dissonance bell a time or two. But being good means never having to say you’re sorry. (Surely I did not lift that from Love Story?)
I’m almost sure I said everything. It’s hard to know, when you’re fighting writer’s block and feeling all Hemingwayish. No I did not mean that I’m fondling a shotgun or anything. Death wishes bore the shit out of me, and I find such people tedious.
I’m almost through grieving for Robin Williams. Almost.
Can you almost hear the sarcasm?
Can you almost wish this were over? No, my ego says no.
We participate, (with a certain shamefacedness) in SoCS.